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Canada Soccer releases statement on workers’ rights, inclusivity in World Cup host Qatar


Canada Soccer spoke out Friday about promoting greater rights and inclusivity of workers in Qatar as the country prepares to host the FIFA World Cup next month.

Over the past decade, the gas-rich emirate has suffered from its treatment of migrant workers, mainly from South Asia, who need to build stadiums, transport facilities and hotels. worth billions of dollars before the men’s football show of 32 countries.

“Canada Soccer supports the pursuit of further progress regarding workers’ rights and inclusivity as Qatar prepares to host the world,” Canada Soccer said in the statement. “Fifa itself has acknowledged these important issues and is in discussions with its member associations and stakeholders.

“While progress has been made in strengthening worker protections through the Qatari government’s labor reforms, we encourage all partners to continue their dialogue to ensure these reforms translates into tangible improvements in worker rights protection and inclusivity across the country beyond the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

“We believe a legacy of this tournament must be to inspire and encourage further improvements in this area, not just in Qatar but across the region.”

Canada Soccer’s secretary general, Earl Cochrane, noted “Canada’s global reputation as a nation that stands up for human rights.”

“And we have a long track record as leaders here. And so we think it’s important for us, at the right time, to share that stance with more than just people. Canada but a global audience at the same time,” he said in an interview.

Canada’s statement comes two days after the Australian team released a short but powerful video featuring their players highlighting Qatar’s human rights record and demanding reform as a legacy of the organization. World Cup.

VIEW | Australian football team criticizes Qatar’s human rights record:

The Australian team condemns Qatar’s human rights record ahead of the World Cup

Members of Australia’s World Cup men’s team criticized host country Qatar for its poor human rights record in a black and white video, the first team to attend the 2022 World Cup to do so. Now, advocates and human rights groups are calling on Canada Soccer to speak up.

“The league has been tied to suffering for some migrant workers and their families and this cannot be ignored,” Football Australia said in a statement.

Football Australia says the video follows nearly two years of consultations between the Socceroos, the players’ federation and Football Australia with a number of global organisations, including Amnesty International, FIFA and FIFPRO, the global players’ organization.

Canada Soccer said it met with the Canadian Embassy in Doha in Qatar in April, July and September this year, in addition to meeting and hearing presentations from both the International Labor Organization and Amnesty International. .

“Through the dialogue that has been taking place in recent months, we understand that Qatar’s legal reforms, if fully implemented, have the potential to have a real impact and further improve the protection rights of workers across the country,” Canada Soccer’s statement said. “We encourage all partners to continue their efforts to implement recent labor reforms and to continue to address and address past labor abuse cases.”

Canada Soccer said it made a “conscious decision to engage and partner only with local providers in Qatar who share shared values ​​and principles that align with Canadian values.” our shared.”

VIEW | Qatar’s human rights concerns persisted ahead of the World Cup:

FIFA World Cup Qatar faces intense scrutiny over human rights concerns

As Qatar prepares to host the men’s soccer World Cup in a month, human rights concerns persist in the conservative Muslim country. Global Affairs is warning Canadians traveling to Qatar that LGBTQ2 visitors could face discrimination or even detention.

Cochrane said includes discussions with businesses that provide accommodation for so-called friends and family and who help build the brand for Canada House.

The statement said Canada Soccer will also “provide cultural awareness to our players and staff, friends and family and corporate partners in the coming days ahead of travel to Qatar.”

Several European teams participating in the World Cup say their captains will wear multi-colored, heart-shaped captain’s armbands at matches in support of the “One Love” campaign against discrimination. .

Cochrane said when asked if Canada could follow suit. “And it might show up in some of the dialogue that we have in some of the education we give them.”

While homosexual acts are illegal in Qatar, the country says LGBTQ+ fans will not face arrest.

Cochrane said ongoing internal discussions and research on issues in Qatar have prompted his organization to look inward, “ask ourselves, ‘Have we done enough domestically?’ to protect what we’re talking about.”

That means creating change at home, including meaningful discussion with the LGBTQ+ community and indigenous peoples.

Cochrane points to Canada Soccer’s ongoing labor discussions, citing the promotion of pay equity with men’s and women’s teams.

Qatar has repeatedly pushed back, saying it has improved protections for migrant workers and dismissing criticism as outdated.

Qatar’s ruling emir this week criticized his country, describing it as an “unprecedented campaign” against the first Arab country to host the tournament.

On Friday, Qatar summoned the German ambassador over remarks made by the German Interior Minister, who appeared to criticize the decision to award the tournament to the Gulf Arab nation because of its human rights record.

VIEW | Football analyst Jim Brennan dissects Canada’s World Cup question marks:

Question mark in midfield, MLS officially ends the season for Canada Soccer against Qatar

Host Andi Petrillo features former CanMNT player Jimmy Brennan for his thoughts on some of the biggest question mark men’s teams in less than a month of the 2022 World Cup.

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